Naming your business is an important step in the formation process. The right name can help you stand out from the competition and tell customers what you do.
But the name you choose must follow your state’s laws, and there are restrictions on what words you can use. Learn about these requirements and restrictions to ensure your company name is legal.
Requirements for Company Names
Your company name will serve as the brand identity for your business, and it’s important to choose a distinctive and memorable name. The name should also comply with state naming guidelines to ensure your LLC will be able to register and trademark the name. In general, the name must include required identifiers and exclude restricted words. It must also not mislead the public into thinking your company is a government entity or a type of business it’s not. You should also avoid implying your company is a legal or medical professional, unless you can prove you are one or the other.
You should think about how the name will work with your website and social media. You will want to check a domain registrar to make sure the name is available and that it isn’t already in use by another business. You should also think about whether the name will allow you to grow your business in the future.
Requirements for Company Logos
When it comes to naming your business, you’re free to use whatever name you want, as long as your state permits the use of it. This includes trade names, brand names, DBAs, assumed or fictitious names and trademarks. However, a business name may not include words that imply it’s a different type of entity than it is.
This can mean not using words that imply your company is a bank, an insurance agency or some other specialized business. Some states have lists of restricted or prohibited words in business names, which you can find on your state’s business website.
Including LLC in your business name tells the world that you’re serious about your company and that you’re willing to take the time to register at the state level to establish your business as an entity separate from you. Having this designation in your name helps build trust with customers and investors. It also demonstrates to potential competitors that you’re committed to following the law.
Requirements for Company Websites
Before you settle on a business name, check with the Secretary of State’s office or a similar agency to make sure the name is available. You should also check with a domain registrar to see if the name is available for web registration.
Many states require that LLC names include the phrase “limited liability company” or the initials “LLC.” You cannot include words that suggest you are a certain type of business entity, such as a bank, insurance company or corporation.
Your business may have an official registered name but still use a different nickname or brand name. For example, your company might be known as “Jimenez Consulting Ltd.” but promote itself under the name “Grow With Fran.” You must register a trademark for your brand name so that you can legally sign contracts and cash checks using the name. For this reason, you should register your trademark name separately from your LLC name. You can get help registering your trademark on UpCounsel’s marketplace.
Requirements for Company Business Cards
Your company business card is one of the first ways you communicate with customers, clients and vendors. It’s important that you use it to convey your values and create a strong brand for your company.
As you work on creating a company business card, keep in mind that your company name must be legally compliant. Each state has naming rules that you must follow, and there are restrictions on certain words that can’t be used in the company name.
It’s also a good idea to check your state’s business name database for any potential conflicts. You can do this by searching the business name in different variations, including spelled out and abbreviated forms, and by using the ampersand symbol (&). You should also know that registering an LLC name is not the same as trademarking it or using it as a brand. A trademark is a unique word or symbol that distinguishes your company’s products and services from those of other companies.